Partnerships update: Organisational Development Group

Posted by Peter Burnside on 13/02/2020
Enjoying the beautiful views of Snowdonia National Park. Photo: Shutterstock

After being appointed the new BMC partnerships manager, Rob Bishop has been hard at work reviewing current partnerships and scoping out new ones. Let's hear what he's been up to so far:

In this article we’ll detail the developments that have been taking place with external partnerships, those we have close relationships with and an update regarding the Partner Assembly. In September, Rob Bishop was appointed as the BMC partnerships manager. Rob has an extensive background in sports development/partnerships having previously worked for British Triathlon and British Orienteering. One of Rob’s main roles is to enhance the partnerships we already have in place and develop new ones. His role also includes supporting the BMC’s work for hill walkers and Fiona Sanders on the development of the Partner Assembly.

In the first few months Rob has been in post he has carried out an audit of existing partnerships and identified areas where we could engage on more workstreams. For example, the National Trust. When Rob came into post, the partnership included working together on providing guidance and support, land access and environmental issues. Rob has met with the National Trust and is looking to work on a number of other workstreams such as lobby government on access issues, increasing participation in all activities and providing training. It was the same for the Duke of Edinburgh. Whilst there was some informal partnership with the two organisations, Rob has been able to share information with the DofE scheme including advice on ticks, incident reports and develop the commitment of the DofE to the BMC's recent environmental campaign Hills 2 Oceans (H2O).

READ: Our latest plans to remove mountains of waste with H2O

In terms of new partnerships Rob is working with a number of organisations including the Youth Hostel Association (YHA). This partnership is the first to be confirmed since his appointment and includes a number of benefits for the organisation. For example, the BMC now have access to free meeting rooms across England and Wales, discounted rates for training events and YHA membership offer for £1 is close to being completed. This multi-faceted partnership also sees the YHA becoming involved in the H2O project by advertising the campaign at 50 of their hostels to begin with. The YHA will also hold H2O clean up bags at their hostels for people to take part.

As with many partnerships in today’s society this leads to new relationships with other partners. For example, our work with the YHA will allow us to work with others and allow us to promote other institutions. Work with other partners is ongoing from the National Autistic Society to Mind to the WI and climbing walls across the country in the build up to the Tokyo Olympic Games.

Work continues with partners that we already have strong links with. Recently the BMC and the Association of British Climbing Walls (ABC) worked together to produce a funding bid for research into the impact of an Olympics on a sport and how best to harness this new-found interest. The application was made to Sport England and we are currently waiting to find out if we have been successful. Rob is due to visit Plas y Brenin shortly to understand how the BMC can work with the centre on how to best promote each other. Rob and Fiona were also recently invited to the Funded Group (previously known as the Climb Group) to share their ideas on the Partner Assembly and to engage with existing partners of that group.

The inaugural Partner’s Assembly meeting took place at the BMC offices on Tuesday 26 November. Organisations from across the sector were in attendance to discuss relevant issues that affect everyone and to agree a terms of reference. Other subjects covered included establishing what the Partner Assembly is for, appointing a Chair of the group and understanding each other’s visions and values. Following a review of the provisional terms of reference it was agreed that Fiona Sanders will Chair the assembly for the first year.

Fiona has worked tirelessly to get the Partner Assembly to this point, engaging with the board and discussing and identifying potential partners of the group with Rob. The partners will meet again in February and May next year. After the encouraging first meeting, Abbi Blakey from NICAS said: “It was a really positive meeting with some real tangible outcomes coming from it. I’m very much look forward to the second meeting in February.”

Should you have any questions regarding the above, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with Rob via robb@thebmc.co.uk or 07885 910 605.


As the climbing walls, crags and mountains start to open, we wanted to say thanks to every BMC member who supported us through the Coronavirus crisis.

From weekly Facebook Lives and GB Climbing home training videos, to our access team working to re-open the crags and fight for your mountain access, we couldn’t have made it without you.

If you liked what we did, then tell your friends about us: www.thebmc.co.uk/join


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